Chagossians are an indigenous people

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Chagossians are an indigenous people and Chagossian Voices also asserts the associated rights of self-determination, protection of way of life and culture, right to development and freedom from discrimination and assimilation. We assert our human right to identify as an indigenous people based on our unique culture and way of life established over generations in the Chagos Archipelago. Chagossians are described as an indigenous people by Human Rights Watch, Minority Rights Group International, Cultural Survival, various UN special rapporteurs and by judges at the ICJ in in 2019. In a judgment at the High Court in London in 2000 (Case No: CO/3775/98; Handed Down Judgment) the justices described the Chagossians as the ‘belongers’ on the islands, a term used to describe the native population of British Overseas Territories who are “sufficiently indigenous” to a territory. (Hendry and Dickson, British OT law, 2018, p221). Chagossian Voices have asserted the indigenous rights of Chagossians at the United Nations by registering as an indigenous group and by attending both the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) at the UN in New York and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) at the UN in Geneva -both in 2023